Letters to the Editor

Career goals should lead college decisions

This is a rebuttal to the March 12 New York Times editorial, "How to shop for college."

The editorial reflected on the importance of college, showing little thought as to why. Teachers, counselors and parents must be cognizant that college is not a goal. Teachers and other adults ask 11th- and 12th-graders, "Are you going to college or to work?" But this is misleading. Since many high schoolers get little help with career options, they frequently choose college because they don't know other options.

College is not a goal; college is a process to certain goals. One's goals might be: lawyer, medical doctor, carpenter, nurse, fireman, plumber, policeman etc. Until high schoolers have a fair idea of their career direction, they really can't choose the process. Four-year colleges are very expensive exploratory institutions. Since 70-plus percent of jobs-careers do not require four-year college degrees or higher, they are limiting themselves to about 25 percent of the career choices.

More than 75 percent of jobs-careers require some post-secondary schooling of less than baccalaureate level. That means at least 75 percent of our high school graduates should be going to community or technical colleges. Another important point is that less than 50 percent of the recent four-year college graduates have found employment in careers that require bachelor's degrees, while more than 90 percent of those with some technical or community college preparation immediately find employment. We must develop a new schooling paradigm.

Jim Hoerner